Christians aren’t the only ones posting mind-numbingly stupid things on the social Internet, but boy howdy are they good at it. Here are some of my not-favorite Christian memes from Facebook and Twitter. Disclaimer: If you’re a friend of mine who has posted one of these, I am not mocking you or criticizing you personally. (But please do stop being so awful!)
The Bottom of the Barrel
The bulk of Christian memes, like most other Internet memes, are just needless pabulum cluttering servers that would be put to better use storing empty text documents. It’s not really worth the effort to analyze and respond to most of these, so I’m going to focus instead on memes with some sort of message or substance.
Creepy Cross Memes
Look, OK, I kinda get it. The cross is central to the Christian story, central to the theology of Paul, etc. It’s huge, it’s important. But to celebrate the cross without any context or irony is just… creepy. Because guess what? Death and blood and murder are creepy to begin with, and super creepy when mixed with religion. The burden is on Christians to explain how one particular bloody death could be called “good.” For my part, I’ve already made my case for why it’s not. Without self-awareness of what the cross says about us as a species, and apart from the peace and beauty of Easter, the cross is just an ugly religious fetish.
I’ve seen both of these quotes attributed to C.S. Lewis (as the second one is here), but he didn’t write or say either of them. “You don’t have a soul” is George MacDonald, “You are not a human being” is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and neither of them reflects what Jesus or the Bible has to say about human beings and spirituality. The idea of the human body as a temporary vessel for an eternal spiritual being is straight out of Platonic philosophy. The Bible itself contains a variety of evolving beliefs about the nature and destiny of humans, but none of them looks like disembodied souls floating upward to the heavens. “Soul” in the traditional Jewish sense refers to the fullness of a person, inside and out, as God sees them. And most biblical visions of the future involve recreation and continued embodied life on earth. I don’t mean to knock Greek philosophy, it’s a hoot. I just feel bad that it doesn’t get enough credit for its deep influence on Christianity.
Royalty/Daughter of a King Memes
Really? I mean… just, really? Arrogance, pride, self-aggrandizement… Just like Jesus!
When You Preach…
This one just kinda backfires in a hilarious way. Am I missing something? Doesn’t the one on the left (preaching what they wanna hear) look like a Billy Graham crusade, and doesn’t the one on the right (preaching the truth) look like a mainline or Catholic church? I’m just saying, is all.
Love is Not Love
Conservative Christians are eager to let you know that love takes a back seat to doctrine and the enforcement of moral boundaries. “Tolerance” is a dirty word and a compromise. Real Christian love is gleefully offensive and saturated in harsh and accusatory “truth.” These believers are just being true to their God, whose “love” is primarily manifested as wrath and condemnation. Not to split hairs, but it might not be God they are imitating…